Quarter-Life Crisis


They say that if you love what you do, you’d never spend a day working.

I grew up thinking that I need to find work in my passion and find passion in work, only to discover that it is a lot harder than I thought.

I have always been a keen believer that we should find ourselves in a career that we are innately passionate about. Doing the kind of special things that never fails to kick some excitement in you. The kind of things that you spend time doing because you love it too much.

Perhaps I blurred the line between a hobby and a career. That a career could be an extension of a hobby, doing what you love the most and make a living out of it. It seems like such a great deal.

But there are fundamental differences between a hobby and a career. A hobby falls in this loose category of space. There is no time constraint, no deadlines, or any expectations from anyone other than yourself. A hobby is a personal exploration, a personal choice. It’s your Utopia. You’re king (or queen).

A career is on no Utopian island. Sure, you always have the choice between a path you’d like more than another. But here’s the deal – the law of equivalent exchange comes into play. I am probably too much of a novice in the corporate world to make this statement — but I will anyway — to get something you’d almost always have to give something else up in exchange. It’s more than just the work, a career involves the people, the environment, the vibes. It involves decisions, and very hard ones at times. A career is no child’s game. It’s serious business, and often for most of us it is what puts food on the dining table every day.

Slowly but surely I am starting to think that there is no such thing as a perfect job, based on the assumption that you weren’t born with a silver spoon and inherited a mountain of gold bars. No one pays you to have fun. Salary is monetary compensation for your effort and productivity. I would love to be a barista for 6 months and then be a keyboardist or guitarist for another 3. Explore the world for a year as a Nat Geo adventurer, and freelance for the rest of my life, But as long as we are working for money, we will always be stuck in this gridlock and our passion will always be out of our career reach, There is a reason why they call it a dream job – maybe it’s better left in our dreams.

So maybe If it was really impractical to work on our passion, then could we just learn to be passionate about our work?

Passion is an odd thing. You can’t really define it. It’s psychological, and it’s emotional. And the scariest part about passion is that it changes. So perhaps we could just learn to be passionate about what we do? But wouldn’t that beg the fundamental concept of passion in the first place?